Shari Elessar, the founder, is a member of both Florida and New York bars, and a former wall street commercial litigator at Cravath for four years. Shari also is a former in-house counsel with extensive experience managing, among other things, litigation at multibillion-dollar corporations such as Blyth, Inc. and Suffolk Construction, with a focus on resolution of difficult issues and litigation. She is also known for her extensive volunteering, mentoring, education and outreach. Shari’s expansive legal, business, educational and volunteer background, has enabled her to work with people of all backgrounds, with the acumen to get to the core of, and resolve, the various challenges which litigants face.
Shari is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator in County and Circuit Civil court, and a Florida Supreme Court Qualified Arbitrator and has completed hundreds of mediations on zoom, with outcomes that demonstrated unequivocally the effectiveness, and efficiency, of virtual mediation. Shari earned her legal degree from the University of Chicago law school, studied overseas for one year at Oxford University and graduated from Cornell University, summa cum laude. Her breadth of legal and business expertise includes business and technology issues, securities, consumer products, personal injury, estate issues, employment, real estate, and construction law.
After working on Wall Street, Shari moved to real estate and construction, including serving as regional General Counsel of Suffolk Construction, a national construction firm, and then jumped to the developer side, practicing as General Counsel, managing the assets and litigation for Palm Beach real estate mogul and developer, Robert L. Miller, whose operations included multiple properties such as Jupiter Pointe Marina, and other marinas statewide, equestrian facilities, shopping malls, and various residential and commercial properties. On both the developer and contractor/construction side, Shari’s continued success in litigation management and dispute resolution resulted in financially meaningful outcomes.
As an entrepreneur, Shari then shifted from construction and real estate, into spearheading the growth of ApparelMagic, a B2B cloud software ERP, into national recognition. Shari served as a full equity partner managing the non-coding operational side, such as sales, marketing, finance, legal, PR and human resources, before shifting the bulk of her legal talents to the alternative dispute resolution field.
In addition to helping people try to resolve their differences through mediation and alternative dispute resolution, Shari enjoys lecturing at Palm Beach State college, judging/coaching with Nova law school’s moot court and NTA events, including with their most recent 2020 National Championship team, their 2021 distinguished semi-finalists, and the 2021 and 2022 Trial Advocacy Summer Institute, working with Judge Rosenberg and the federal courts in their Civil Discourse outreach program with local teens, and volunteering as a guardian ad litem.
Currently an emeritus, Shari served as a Board Member of the prestigious Craig S. Barnard Inns of Court for four years, including in her last year as Membership Co-Chair, serving in multiple capacities in prior years, including two years as Education Chair and one as Pupillage Group Leader during which, Shari’s team was awarded the Inns of Court Cup, which recognized her pupillage group for its outreach, ethics and professionalism, and then again as the Legacy Pupillage Group Leader. In 2021, the National Inns of Court published the award winning CLE on Daubert and Frye, produced by Shari’s team, which placed second in nationals among hundreds of competitor entries.
In 2021 and 2022, Shari was invited to serve on the Executive Committee of the Florida Bar’s ADR Section. Committed to educational outreach, Shari served as a committee member at the Florida Bar’s Arbitration Advocacy Institute held virtually in November, 2020, and on the ADR’s Mediation Mentoring Academy, after being recruited by the event’s founders to help develop their second bi-annual event scheduled live in Tampa in February of 2023.
In 2021, Shari appeared as one of the speakers at the DRC’s annual conference held on August 13-15th Workshop Session C6 on Aug. 12@3PM and D6 on Aug. 13 @10AM: Mastering Mediations: Experts Discuss. Shari was also a featured panelist at the ACLI Conference on October 28 “The Impact of Covid on The Practice of Law: The Good, Bad and Ugly”. In 2022, Shari was also one of the featured speakers on the attorney CLE panel for “Mentoring Masterclass on Mediation and Negotiation” and in May, 2023 will be teaching the CLE seminar offered by the Florida Bar, “Oops, I’m the mediator and I just got subpoenaed to testify. What do I do now?” along with distinguished Professor Meah Tell.
Shari’s articles on mediation may be found in the Common Ground, the Alternative Dispute Resolution’s bi-annual publication for the Florida Bar. Her column, Tips from the Masters, highlights collective wisdom from the masters, as a mediator’s guide to successful mediation. Her goal as a mediator and arbitrator is to help attorneys and clients alike pursue every opportunity for positive resolution, and ensure that every voice is heard.